Frequently Asked Questions
Common questions related to COVID-19 vaccinations
Polk County to Close Vaccine Portal. Lakeland Regional Health to Take Over Scheduling
The Florida Department of Health in Polk County, in partnership with Polk County Board of County Commissioners, will be closing Polk County’s COVID-19 vaccine portal on Sunday, April 18th at 11:59 p.m. The call center will remain open until Friday, April 23. As COVID-19 vaccine becomes more widely available across the county, DOH-Polk will transition its vaccination efforts to larger walk-up vaccine point of dispensing (POD) locations across the county where appointments are not necessary.
“We are thankful for our community vaccination partners and the Polk County Board of County Commissioners who have been a tremendous asset to DOH-Polk in helping us provide COVID-19 vaccines to our residents,” says Dr. Joy Jackson, director of the Florida Department of Health in Polk County. “As vaccine availability expands across the county, we continue to encourage residents 16 years of age and older to get a COVID-19 vaccine.”
Lakeland Regional Health will now be assisting DOH-Polk by scheduling anyone who wishes to receive a COVID-19 vaccine by appointment. Those interested in making a COVID-19 vaccine appointment can visit https://myLRH.org/vaccineform or call +1 (863) 904-1895 to schedule their appointment. Appointments will be available for scheduling Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“Lakeland Regional Health is committed to strengthening the health of our community, and that includes doing our part to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” says Terry Hamilton, Lakeland Regional Health Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer. “Our goal is to vaccinate as many individuals who are ages 16 years and older as possible, and we are so pleased to collaborate with the Department of Health to continue administering vaccines for our community.”
DOH-Polk will transition into hosting walk-up vaccine events across the county on certain days of the week. On Tuesday, April 20, DOH-Polk will be providing COVID-19 vaccines at Lake Eva Event Center in Haines City from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., no appointment needed. Vaccines will be available to anyone 18 years of age and older as outlined in the Governor’s Executive Order.
In addition to DOH-Polk and Lakeland Regional Health’s vaccine availability, COVID-19 vaccine is also becoming more widely available through local pharmacies and private providers. Individuals are encouraged to visit the state’s COVID-19 vaccine locator to find vaccine availability nearest them. This can be found by visiting http://www.floridahealth.gov/ and clicking the Vaccine Site Locator map located on the home page. Individuals may also contact DOH-Polk’s COVID-19 Information Center at +1 (863) 519-7911 for COVID-19 related questions.
The Florida Department of Health in Polk County remains committed to continue the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across the county. To date, more than 200,000 of Polk’s residents have received the COVID-19 vaccine.
Who is eligible for the COVID-19 Vaccine?
As of Monday, April 5, all Florida residents 18 and over shall be eligible to receive any COVID-19 vaccine as prescribed by the Food and Drug Administration. The Pfizer vaccine is authorized for persons age 16 and up. The Moderna and Janssen (Johnson and Johnson) vaccines are authorized for persons age 18 and up. All individuals under the age of 18 receiving a vaccine must be accompanied by a guardian and complete the COVID-19 vaccine screening and consent form.
I need to be a Florida resident to be vaccinated at these appointments?
By advisory from the State Surgeon General and State Health Officer, Scott A. Rivkees, M.D., prior to providing the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to the intended recipient, every vaccine provider in Florida should ensure the recipient of the vaccine is either:
- a resident of the State of Florida able to demonstrate residency consistent with the criteria set forth in § 381.986(5)(b), Fla Stat.; or
- an individual present in Florida for the purpose of providing health care services involving direct contact with patients.
Do I need to be a Polk County resident to be vaccinated at these appointments?
No; however, an appointment is mandatory. We do ask that those who receive their first dose of vaccine from us also be local/in county to receive their second dose from us 28 days later.
Is there a cost to be vaccinated?
There is no cost to be vaccinated with the health department and insurance is not required.
Where are the current locations to be vaccinated?
DOH-Polk is scheduling vaccine appointments weekly at various locations across the county. There are no walk-in vaccine locations in Polk at this time. You will receive a testing location and time when you are called back by our staff to schedule your vaccine appointment.
Are walk-ins accepted?
No. Appointments are mandatory to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
Am I immune once I have received the vaccine?
No. The vaccine takes a few weeks for antibodies to develop. A second dose of the vaccine will need to administered 28 days after the first as a booster. We encourage you to continue following healthy prevention measures after receiving the vaccine. This includes continuing to:
- Wash your hands
- Wear a mask in public
- Continue social distancing while out in public
- Cleaning and wiping down surfaces
How will members of the public know when appointments become available?
Residents can continue monitoring the health department's website for updates regarding appointments. Here is a link: Florida Health - Polk County. Residents may also call our Polk County COVID-19 vaccine hotline at 863-298-7500 to check on availability.
How long will it take for me to get a call about a vaccine appointment?
Once your information is shared on our registration list, someone will be calling you back at a future date when appointments are available. Appointments are contingent on vaccine supply . We are unsure of our future schedule. If you have an opportunity to receive a vaccine before you are called for an appointment, please feel free to go ahead and get one.
Why aren't there more appointments available?
Quantities of the vaccine are limited and are in great demand. Please be assured that we are making every effort to vaccinate residents as quickly as possible based on the quantities of vaccine that are provided by the State of Florida. As availability of the vaccine grows and demand evens out, it will be easier to ensure everyone who qualifies receives an appointment.
When will more appointments become available?
DOH-Polk expects new supplies of vaccine from the State weekly. Vaccination appointments will be available based on supply.
Which vaccine is the health department in Polk providing?
We are currently giving the Moderna vaccine.
How many doses is the Moderna vaccine?
The Moderna vaccine is a two-dose series separated by 28 days.
How will I know when I should return for the second dose of the vaccine?
Your second appointment will be scheduled after you receive your first dose, before you leave the vaccination appointment. It is important to follow the instructions exactly as they are provided to you so that the vaccine administered in the follow-up appointment is the same kind as the initial dose, and to achieve maximum effectiveness of the vaccine.
If I made the appointment as a caretaker for an elderly person, can I get the details for the follow up dose sent to me?
This can be arranged at the time the appointment for the second dose is made (during the exit process). If you are not accompanying the person who is receiving the vaccine, please be sure he/she brings your contact information with them to the site, so this can be provided to the staff who will be arranging the follow-up appointment.
What do I need to bring with me to the appointment?
- Proof of residency of the State of Florida consistent with the criteria set forth in § 381.986(5)(b), Fla Stat.; or
- A photo ID with your name and date of birth (for example: Florida driver's license, state-issued ID, or passport)
- Proof of your appointment (printed copy or screenshot of the confirmation email or text message)
- Completed Moderna Consent form
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth when receiving any vaccine, including a COVID-19 vaccine. Anyone who has trouble breathing or is unable to remove a mask without assistance should not wear a mask.